Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Joe Wichowski 9:31 am on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    My laptop shortlist for the Salesman… 


    Often I am asked “Joe – what’s the best laptop for a sales guy?”.  For me, it currently falls into 2 camps – those with some cash to spend, and those with out.

    Let me start by explaining – I think that sub-$1,000 laptops are ridiculous.  There is no way for a company to make money at the <$1k price point unless something suffers – most namely, you!    I think a good laptop, for use at least 20 hours a week, should last between 2.5 and 3 years of common wear and tear, and should not cause me to wait.  To that, I can only say that in my experience, any laptop under $1k ends up costing me money (in loss time, loss productivity, loss of self-esteem).  So, with that, I currently narrow my recommendations down to 2 laptops for salesmen:

    1. Apple MacBook AirI currently use the 11“, with the 128gig drive.  I loaded Windows 8 on it – I am not a MacOS fan, especially for business.  Also, if you use a lot of Microsoft software, you will want to make sure you load Windows – although there are some options for MacOS, it really isn’t the same.  On my laptop, I kept about 90gigs of the hard drive for Windows, and left the rest for the original MacOS (I am using Bootcamp).  For me, the 11″ form factor is killer.  I can take this thing anywhere, and feel like I am carrying nothing.  It’s almost like my iPad with a keyboard, except it runs Windows.
      For some other salesmen, I have recommended the 13″ Air, since its screen resolution is slightly larger (they are salesmen who often review CAD type drawings).  But for me, I just submit proposals all day in Word.  The 11″ form factor, the power/quickness to boot up, the brightness of the screen, the backlight on the keyboard – its everything I need.  I paid about $1,250 including tax direct from the Apple store in the mall.
      Pros:  Lightweight, extremely fast-boot with the SSD drive, feels like it runs on battery forever, backlit keyboard, awesomely bright screen, can upgrade the processor to Intel i7, but for my needs (proposals, presentations, limited development) the extra horsepower is not needed
      Cons:  A bit pricier, since you need to buy Windows separately and take the time to install it yourself (or get a consultant to do it), cannot add more RAM later, the space bar has some “known issues” under long-term use (google it)

    2. Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook – This notebook was not out when I bought my Air, but if it was, I would have given it serious consideration.  It essentially matches just about everything in the 13″ MacBook, with the exception of the backlit keyboard.  But all in all, it is a great laptop.  And at $999 for the entry model at Best Buy, it is a great price point.  It even has a touch-screen!  But for me, as a sales guy, I require laptop functionality – if I have to keep taking my hands off the keyboard to “touch” the screen, it takes longer than just putting my finger down on the trackpad and moving the cursor the old-fashioned way.  (Perhaps I am just getting too old!)
      Note: Be careful with this choice!  The Yoga RT version IS NOT the Ultrabook version.  You should pay no less than $999 for this laptop!  Otherwise, you are getting the RT version, which will not likely run all of the software you want to run!
      Pros:  Lightweight, slim, great screen, could double as a tablet (see below), great price point (right at $1k!), you can upgrade the memory yourself, slightly larger screen resolution (matching that of the Air 13″)
      Cons: Touchscreen will want you to “touch it” – expect to clean it a lot like your iPad, doesn’t come in 11″ form factor, slightly heavier (1 lbs for 11″, .5 lbs for 13″)


    All in all, if I were to buy today, I would probably buy the Lenovo.  It’s a better deal at $999, and already comes with Windows (saving some time for an IT guy to load up bootcamp).

    A couple of additional notes:

    • I leverage Microsoft SkyDrive.  For $50 per year, I get 100gigs of redundant storage in the cloud, that works across all my devices.  That is why I really no longer need a “large hard drive” for my laptop.  All of my sales collateral, presentations, training materials, Six-Sigma documentation, and so on are all in the cloud, available to me on any device.  It also gives me the freedom to “switch hardware” whenever I need to, with little or no IT intervention.
    • I have purchased a PNY Key 32gb USB Flash Drive that I often carry around, but have not used since I extended my Skydrive account to 100gb.  But I often use it to transfer presentations and files from my Air to a client’s conference room PC or desktop (often giving them a copy of my presentation on the spot)
  • Joe Wichowski 8:44 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Challenge your team to “know” your customers… 


    Dale Carnegie once said:

     “You can make more friends in two months by becoming
    more interested in other people than you can in
    two years by trying to get people interested in you”

    Too often as salesmen, we define ourselves by our ability to make people interested in us – to persuade people into buying.  Instead, take a moment to give your team some specific action items that will not only get them more in tune with their customers, but they just might gather some intelligence to help them close their next deal.

    • Identifying Your Customer’s Customers – Find out who your customer’s “top customers” are.  Are they overweight in one particular segment?  Are they still growing? What are their strategic initiatives for customer growth over the next 12 months?  How might your company be able to help within those initiatives?
    • Competitor Discussion – Have your sales team ask the customer who your top 1 or 2 competitors are.  More often than not, they will actually tell you.  Why do they do business with them versus you? How are they different (good or bad)?  What is the percentage split (them versus us)?  Is there anything our competitors are doing that the customer would like us doing?
    • “If I Could” Discussion – Simply have your sales team ask the customer “If I could do anything for you this year – one thing – besides give you product for free; what would it be?”.   Then collate the list and review for synergies across your customer base.

    Assign these questions to your team.  Have them return a sheet filled in with each of their top-10 customers.  In doing so, you will begin to realize information you never had, and at the same time, draw your customer closer to your sales force.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:25 am on January 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BizBoard,   

    Build a better Dashboard in Office 365 

    bizboard-sharepointWhat do you get when you combine the power of dashboards with the accountability of action planning? You get BizBoard – our all-encompasing solution to help teams recognize trends in real-time, while allowing for task management and action planning in relation to the data.

    With BizBoard, teams can:

    • Centralized charting and graphing – By integrating with multiple applications simultaneously (including Microsoft CRM On-Premesis and Online, Salesforce.com, SQL databases, SharePoint lists, and more) BizBoard can provide a complete snapshot of all systems within the company.
    • Zoom In / Zoom Out – Review high-level KPIs (colors) to get the pulse of the organization. Then, drill-down for key trends and other metrics within any single segment.
    • Organizational Task Management – Strategic planning, assignment, and accountability of key tasks and other management and departmental inititiatives. All tasks roll-up into a single organziational task system.

    While in its original form it is a stand-alone web portal, we have recently ported over our BizBoard technology directly into SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. Now you can quickly integrate key company metrics within an Action Planning portal to provide visibility to teams, and ensure discoveries and “ah-ha” moments are captured within measurable and assignable tasks.

    If you would like a custom demo of our BizBoard for SharePoint or our stand-alone product, please contact the sales department at 248-679-9454 x1.

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